Antitumor activity of the polo-like kinase inhibitor, TAK-960, against preclinical models of colorectal cancer

Peter J. Klauck, Stacey M. Bagby, Anna Capasso, Erica L. Bradshaw-Pierce, Heather M. Selby, Anna Spreafico, John J. Tentler, Aik Choon Tan, Jihye Kim, John J. Arcaroli, Alicia Purkey, Wells A. Messersmith, Keisuke Kuida, S. Gail Eckhardt, Todd M. Pitts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) is a serine/threonine kinase that is a key regulator of multiple stages of mitotic progression. Plk1 is upregulated in many tumor types including colorectal cancer (CRC) and portends a poor prognosis. TAK-960 is an ATP-competitive Plk1 inhibitor that has demonstrated efficacy across a broad range of cancer cell lines, including CRC. In this study, we investigated the activity of TAK-960 against a large collection of CRC models including 55 cell lines and 18 patient-derived xenografts. Methods: Fifty-five CRC cell lines and 18 PDX models were exposed to TAK-960 and evaluated for proliferation (IC50) and Tumor Growth Inhibition Index, respectively. Additionally, 2 KRAS wild type and 2 KRAS mutant PDX models were treated with TAK-960 as single agent or in combination with cetuximab or irinotecan. TAK-960 mechanism of action was elucidated through immunoblotting and cell cycle analysis. Results: CRC cell lines demonstrated a variable anti-proliferative response to TAK-960 with IC50 values ranging from 0.001 to > 0.75 μmol/L. Anti-proliferative effects were sustained after removal of drug. Following TAK-960 treatment a highly variable accumulation of mitotic (indicating cell cycle arrest) and apoptotic markers was observed. Cell cycle analysis demonstrated that TAK-960 treatment induced G2/M arrest and polyploidy. Six out of the eighteen PDX models responded to single agent TAK-960 therapy (TGII< 20). The addition of TAK-960 to standard of care chemotherapy resulted in largely additive antitumor effects. Conclusion: TAK-960 is an active anti-proliferative agent against CRC cell lines and PDX models. Collectively, these data suggest that TAK-960 may be of therapeutic benefit alone or in combination with other agents, although future work should focus on the development of predictive biomarkers and hypothesis-driven rational combinations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number136
JournalBMC Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 5

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Millennium Pharmaceuticals and the Department of Defense IDEA award, W81XWH-11-1-0526. The funding body had no role in the design of the study and collection, analysis, and interpretation of data or in writing the manuscript.

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the patients for their contribution to this research and the University of Colorado Cancer Center support grant, P30CA046934-27.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Patient-derived xenograft
  • Plk1
  • TAK-960

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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